The Oilers were far from front and center during yesterday’s NHL trade deadline, making just two swaps — first, a three-way trade that essentially sent veteran Erik Cole away in return for Kings winger Patrick O’Sullivan; and a second deal that sent a second-round draft pick to Buffalo for winger Ales Kotalik.
Unfortunately for them, their Northwest Division rivals fighting for a playoff spot did a fair deal more.
The Flames went for broke big time, making the biggest deal of the day to acquire veteran centre Olli Jokinen, and also bringing in blue-liner Jordan Leopold for his second go-around in Calgary.
The Canucks added a veteran D-man when they took advantage of Philadelphia’s salary cap situation and plucked Ossi Vaananen off waivers.
The Wild? They didn’t deal or acquire anybody, but they did sign starting goalie Niklas Backstrom to a four-year, $24-million contract extension.
So what does Edmonton’s pair of moves mean for its post-season chances?
Not much. Management has known for some time the pressure was on the players who showed up at training camp and any potential in-season additions would only be supplemental in nature. However, big change still could be on the horizon. And you only need to look at the 2009 NHL entry draft this June to see the next pressure point in which those changes might occur.
Not only will there be many more potential trade partners for the Oilers at that time — in the off-season, all teams think they’ve got a shot at the Stanley Cup — there also may be a few cash-strapped organizations willing to unload talent for cap relief.
It’s almost a guarantee GM Steve Tambellini will have to part with one of Edmonton’s young players in any deal. That’s expected — if you want something of value, you’ve got to part with something of value. Should the Oilers fail to make the playoffs, you can bet their off-season changes won’t be of the slow and tinkering variety. Instead, those changes will be swift and sweeping. And that includes the coaching staff.
NHL trade deadline moves of note • The Pittsburgh Penguins added forward Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders for a conditional draft pick.
• The Coyotes sent Derek Morris to the Rangers for fellow defenceman Dmitri Kalinin and forwards Petr Prucha and Nigel Dawes.
• The Calgary Flames acquired Olli Jokinen and a third-round pick from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a conditional first-round pick.
• The Boston Bruins acquired forward Mark Recchi and defenceman Steve Montador. The Bruins sent forward Martins Karsums and defenceman Matt Lashoff to Tampa Bay for Recchi and a second-round pick in 2010.
• The Buffalo Sabres acquired goaltender Mikael Tellqvist from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. The Sabres also re-signed Tim Connolly.
• The Ottawa Senators acquired goalie Pascal Leclaire and a second-round draft pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets for centre Antoine Vermette.
• Brendan Morrison is joining the Dallas Stars. The NHL team claimed him off re-entry waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.
• The Maple Leafs sent forward Nik Antropov to the New York Rangers for a second-round draft pick and a future conditional pick, and Dominic Moore to Buffalo for a second-round draft pick.